Putting a brave face on it

JUST watched Grant Shapps MP doing the “Hey, guys, I’m just an ordinary chap like you” routine on News 24, trying his best not to look crestfallen at the news of the government’s stamp duty package.

Here’s a challenge which I hope someone on the Tories’ front bench will rise to: try responding to any government initiative without using the words “too little, too late”. Anyone?


Filed under Conservative Party, Media, Politics

21 responses to “Putting a brave face on it

  1. Richard

    I haven’t read the detail yet but I presume your “tax duty package” is largely similar to the tax duty package proposed by the conservatives about four months ago when it might have actually done some good.

    A day late and a dollar short, I’m afraid.

  2. ‘ try responding to any government initiative without using the words “too little, too late”. Anyone?’

    Well, you know, if the shoe fits….

    Maybe you’d prefer ‘tinkering around the edges’?

  3. But surely, it’s a “postcode lottery”!

    Actually the general MP catchphrase rule is if it alliterates, it must be more true.


  4. Madasafish

    Well the Government have to be SEEN to be trying.

    And at the margins it will help a few.

    But like King Canute and the tide, the forces of deleveraging (i.e. less credit being available and only on more rigorous terms) will not and indeed cannot be stopped by any Government.

    What else to say?

    You’ve done as much as you can. It will help a little. But house prices are still likely to fall another 20-30%.

    I pity the people with negative equity who HAVE to sell.

  5. Zorro

    It /is/ too little, too late. Do you really think this helps ANYONE south of the Watford Gap???

    Of course though, anyone living south of there is obviously rabid tory supporting scum and not worthy of any govt help. We’re the ones you take money off, not give it to!


  6. As soon as government ministers stop telling me that the Tories have no policies, then I will start worrying about ‘too little too late’.

    The government needs to realise that they are governing and need to come up with their own policies in advance of problems occuring and not worry about waiting for the Tories to come up with something to steal.

  7. Madasafish

    And by the way an analysis suggests at most the shared equity proposals will only help 16,000 and the stamp duty holiday will – at the very most – help up to half the new mortgage lending – 200,000 people at tops.

    And of the latter 200,000 I can confidently state less than 5% will be in the South East and about 90% will be in Scotland , the Midlands and Northern England. For obvious reasons.

    I am sure that will go down well in Southern England with the BNP and the Conservatives some of whom may be targeting Labour as a Government run by Scots on behalf of Scots or anyone but the English.

  8. Stu

    The Tories did announce a very similar policy, but with a higher threshold, and not as a temporary measure. That was back in October 2007.

    So, okay – Labour isn’t too little too late: it’s just that the Tories promised more and promised it a year earlier.

    Yep. That’s a totally different thing altogether.

  9. How many people will benefit from the Tory plan to abolish Inheritance Tax for couples with homes worth between £1m and £2m, eh Madasafish? How many of those set to benefit are Tory front-benchers?

  10. Johnny Norfolk

    There is nothing you can do to undo 11 yeras of of mistakes by Labour. Just look at the pound. There is absolutly no confidence in Britain on the international markets your game is well and truly up. John Redwodd has told you what needs to be done on his site today. You wont of course as it is common sense and painful of which labour has none.

  11. Madasafish


    If you want to discuss IHT go right ahead…

    I try to keep on topic.

    I have found those who change the subject tend to do so because they are losing.

    Besides it would be rude to hijack the thread of a Labour Minister who wants to discuss Government policy. Plenty of time to discuss IHT after 2010.

  12. Brian Hall

    I like this stamp duty free thing, it benefits me direct as I’m in the process of buying in December, fortunately where I live in dour miserable Scotland we still have a fairly pleasant housing market. Perhaps the English should consider adopting the sensible non-speculative housing market in place here for hundreds of years.

    Shame I can’t get one of those 30% government loans eh? those are only for the English! Good ol’ Labour pro-English discrimination. Don’t think we’ll get a lump of new money from the exchequer to balance this out until next year thanks to Barmey Barnett.

    Greed is bad, it’ll always bite you when you aren’t looking.

  13. Madasafish

    I agree with Brian about the Scottish house buying system. The English system favours crooks ..(estate agents and lawyers win).
    Labour made selling a house easier in England: they gave us HIPS.. Well done Ms Cooper.. an own goal.

    If the government really wanted to encourage the market… well no that would be admitting another failure…

  14. Zim Flyer

    The best way to help first time buyers is to let the house prices return to planet reality. This country needs a house price crash and I resent my taxes going to subsidise home owners when I’m struggling to save up for a deposit to buy my first house.

  15. Madasafish

    Meanwhile here’s a professional’s view…

  16. Johnny Norfolk

    Labour are encouraging people to buy when prices are falling. If you wait even after a year when you have to pay the home tax again you will possibly have saved more as you will pay less for the house than you would today. As with all Labour policies it is just not thought through.
    If the £175.000 house drops by 30% as predicted you would pay £122.500 and that is below the current start of the tax. Its just another labour con.

  17. Johnny Norfolk

    What about getting rid of Hospital car parking charges as the SNP has announced today for Scotland. That would help so many people in distress. Free to go in a museum but pay to visit your loved one in hospital. Sums up the Labour party.

  18. Auntie Flo'

    Here’s a challenge for you, Tom: read the many hundreds of responses to the government’s stamp duty package and come back and tell us why over 90% of these responses are highly critical and/or angry over this package.

  19. Patchouli

    Since Madasafish mentioned HIPs, weren’t they hailed as the death of gazundering, now rife once again?

    I’m stumped by the hostility of the wannabees towards those who have worked their rears off to continue to pay long-held mortgages amidst interest levels they couldn’t comprehend. To date, it is not illegal to own a home and, more arguably, it is not illegal to assume unaffordable loans.

    The problem lies with this government in that they have broken promises to supply affordable and social housing. It would be futile to argue here whether Mr Brown should have seen this coming before he became PM.

    Given the record low in house sales and approved mortgages it appears most owners are sitting tight. Too little, too late doesn’t come close to the mood; more ‘how much longer?’.

  20. Steve

    Why isn’t anyone from either party brave enough to say what everyone is thinking, that we really need this house price bubble to burst and the market to self correct back to a more normal level. You have to think that many MP’s think this but are scared silly of admiting it.

    In a couple more generations we would be at 10x salary and 1/2 million pound starter homes if this current trend in house price continued, so why spend tax payers money trying to prop it up?

  21. Madasafish

    A totally independent MoneyWeek view:

    Imagine an environment in which house prices had fallen 10.5% in a year. An environment in which the risks to the market were considered to be so extreme that even the biggest lenders in it were too frightened of negative equity to lend money to anyone without a 30% deposit. One in which mortgage approvals have fallen 70% since this time last year and in which a mere 21,000 houses are recorded as changing hands in July (that’s down from over 100,000 in July 2007). And one in which every single commentator and analyst expects house prices to keep falling for some years to come. An environment a bit like the one the UK housing market finds itself in, perhaps.

    Now imagine buying a house in that environment.

    You might laugh. But there is someone out there doing just that – Communities Secretary Hazel Blears. I don’t mean that she is thinking of buying a house for herself. No, it’s you she imagines buying a house – so much so that she’s prepared to bribe you into it. Or that’s what she told the Today programme this morning, anyway. If a couple in their twenties came to you for advice “would you seriously say ‘buy now’?” asked her interviewer incredulously,”even with the market as it is?”

    Her answer? Yes, she would. If a couple who couldn’t get a commercial loan (i.e. who were considered by the mainstream lending industry to be not well off enough or not financially stable enough to be eligible for one) came to her and asked her advice, she’d say to them “It’s your dream… Go for it.”

    Then, she’d offer them the chance to do just that via the new HomeBuy Direct scheme whereby they’d get to borrow 30% of the price of the new house they want from the government and an appropriate housebuilder, interest-free for five years. The idea, I suppose, is that lenders would then consider them to have a 30% deposit and offer them a loan for the remaining 70%.

    Why stamp duty change is little incentive to buy a house right now

    ………. and so on..


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